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'I'm very proud of our community': Salem, Illinois hit by Friday night storms, EF1 tornado

No one was injured, but 30 to 40 homes were damaged in the city by estimated wind speeds of 105 mph.

SALEM, Ill. — Parts of southern Illinois were especially hit hard by Friday nights massive storm system. 

Marion County saw a tornado warning around 7:30 p.m. on Friday leading to severe damage in Salem, Illinois. 

Homes and businesses are almost unrecognizable, and the town is under a state of emergency. 

No one was injured, but it means so many in Salem are having to start over from scratch, such as Jacob Brandon.

"This is his BBQ sign, and his smoker is wrapped around the pole of my porch," he said.

Building parts from local businesses and pieces of neighbors' homes now lay in Brandon's yard.

"I grabbed the kids and dove in a closet and when it came to it, I couldn't open the front door and I had roof pieces from everyone else's buildings wrapped around my house," he said.

Brandon's home looked like many others along East Blair Street in Salem, Illinois on Saturday morning. 

Images ripped off roofs, building pieces stuck in trees and peoples' memories scattered across the gravel filled the town's streets.

Many, like Brandon, said they are just thankful they're still here.

"Man, when you come that close to a tornado I don't care about the stuff. All my neighbors are alive, my kids are safe, that's all that matters," he said.

Salem Mayor Nicolas Farley said he felt two emotions walking through his torn-up city. 

He said he had heartbreak for those having to rebuild, but Farley is thankful nobody was hurt.

"We can work to rebuild that, we can't work to rebuild the lives," he said.

According to Farley, crews worked for 24 hours straight to help those impacted. 

He said at least 30 to 40 homes were damaged in the city by estimated wind speeds of 105 mph. 

While the road to recovery is long, Farley said, his community is already rebuilding together.

"I was very proud of everybody and as you go through the town you see people already cutting trees and getting the city rebuilt. I'm very proud of our community," he said.

Salem has a curfew set in place through Monday, April 3 from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. for the affected areas. 

That includes East Blair Street and Lake Street between Broadway and Marion. In addition, Lake Street to Wells Street between College and Broadway are under curfew. 

Farley described the area as "extremely dangerous" and asked people who don't live in that area to stay away. 

The city is asking those affected by the storms to call 1-800-REDCROSS if they need help. If you or someone you know were affected by tornadoes in the South or Midwest, click here to get help from the Red Cross.

As of Friday evening, the NWS conducted a survey and determined the damage in Salem was caused by an EF1 tornado.

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